Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC said to be talking to Chinese buyer on May 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

AMC is owned by JPMorgan, Apollo Management, the Carlyle Group, Bain Capital, and Sepctrum Equity Investors under “Marquee Holdings”. Those capital firms are essentially looking to cash out (same happened last year with Kerasotes, instead of refinancing they sold to AMC to provide their investors a return). Wanda, like any investor is looking for a rate of return, not cultural imperialism. And while China is in the process of developing multiplex screens, perhaps AMC’s global development can provide some assistance in that capacity (although their “global development” hasn’t exactly been a home run – the 24-30 screen complex has pretty much flopped around the world, and its been reported in a few places AMC might be looking to offload their Canadian operations).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX on May 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm

They’re also showing Into The Arctic – a short subject IMAX doc for the same low price as the 3-hour 3D epic Titanic…. $20 for an adult ticket. Into the Arctic runs 45 minutes. Oh AMC, always providing great value – from a $20 short film to a rewards card you have to pay for.

Back to The Avengers – – my guess is there aren’t any 15/70 IMAX runs, that its just D-Imax. It appears IMAX is selective in what it releases for the 15/70 runs, Dark Shadows coming out next week appears to be a 15/70 MM run – so perhaps they’ve committed to play it. (The IMAX at Palisades is also film based last I saw and isn’t showing Avengers in 3D either, but advertises Dark Shadows next week)

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Interchange 30 on Apr 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m not sure what AMC’s longterm plans are for the Canadian market, there hasn’t been a wide commitment to digital projection apart from Younge & Dundas which opened as “all digital” (it does have some 35MM used at TIFF). I saw a film at the Winston Churchill and was taken back by the lack of pre-film ads (not a complaint but unusual), the fact my Stubs card wasn’t valid (They did give the movie watchers price however) and how little staff there was (maybe about 10 people on the floor between box office and concessions for a 24-plex on a Saturday afternoon). But AMC is in an odd position should it want to get out of Canada, maybe Empire can right size them.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse moving into vacant Metro Theater on Apr 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

So much as been said about Alamo, I’ll just add this: they live up to the hype. The food isn’t gourmet and upscale like iPic/Gold Class but is excellent, fresh bar kind of food, along with the extensive beverage menu (the prices are still cheaper than Fork & Screen, at least they were in Austin). It’s been a long time coming, but I’m sure it’ll be well worth the wait, the presentation and service is always excellent and Tim League and company really do care about the experience, this is what so many exhibitors forget. I’m excited to see how they’ll tailor it for NYC, which I’m sure will have its own vibe (hopefully showing some experimental films in the line up, matching the type of filmmaking done in NYC in the 60’s). There’s so much that can be done without infringing on the domain of Anthology Film Archives, and I can’t wait to take my friends (Nitehawk is also another high quality Alamo-like theatre in Brooklyn, on a somewhat smaller scale, but I like that theatre very much – – in fact they pushed for NY state to remove the ban on alcohol in movie theaters opening the doors for this and other plans AMC and the Angelika have).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Movieland 8 Theatres on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:03 am

I’m wondering how long it’ll be around – a few discount houses in other areas have gone digital (at least for a 3D screen or two, if not completely). Not sure if this one will make it. (although Buffalo has been about on schedule with digital adoption)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Digital Film switch could signal end of historic movie theaters on Feb 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Wasn’t this article previously posed? Regardless – the problem is the classics are rarely being provided in the form of film prints unless its a serious reparatory house like Film Forum, Dryden or TIFF Bell Lightbox. I’ve seen presentations at The Riviera that were projected right off a DVD (as are many of the classic screenings as I commented on in the Buffalo area including The Hamburg Palace, Market Arcade and the early digital adopters at The Screening Room).

The Buffalo market is maybe about half-converted with 100% digital projection at AMC Maple Ridge, Regal Walden Galleria, Regal Quaker Crossing, Regal Transit Center (including an awful D-IMAX) and Dipson Flix.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bridgewater Commons on Feb 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Those would be old photos – – I’ve seen pictures of the new front and didn’t see a box office in them – the Essex Green location removed the box office and has automated ticketing in the lobby – if you must use cash (i.e.: if you’re a drug dealer) you can purchase a ticket at guest services….

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bridgewater Commons on Feb 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I also think this one is Essex Green, I’m fairly certain Bridgewater does not have stadium seating and has different seats – Jeterga please verify…..

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bridgewater Commons on Feb 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The dinner and movie experience is only awful because AMC does it (like many other things) wrong – the service is terrible and overly complicated but the dinner theatre concept – I can assure you all is done way better at the Alamo Drafthouse and the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. The food selections are over priced and mediocre Applebees kind of fare, things are better at the aforementioned theaters as is service. Here they have this stupid light-up button system they never follow up on, at Alamo and Nitehawk – if you want something during the flick you write it down on a little piece of paper and stand it up at your table, they swing by – take a look it, lean in quietly ask if they had a question about the order (if not they give a thumbs up) and its out in a reasonable time. Here they complicate things with too much technology (which is probably wired for some button pusher to analyze back in Kansas City) – – of coarse these comments (like a few of the associated pictures) are in regards to Essex Green. I had been there one other time since they had opened and the service was better, the food not so much. In fact to experiment I had the same type of grilled chicken and fries as I had at AMC at Nitehawk in Brooklyn a few nights later and observed two things: Nitehawk’s was tastier and leaner (AMC’s had a lump of chewy fat) and cheaper. Nitehawk like Drafthouse also shows eccentric ads and short films (a film I made a few year ago was at Nitehawk before shows of Martha Marcy May Marlene in November) instead of ads and infomercials for TV shows – over all its a much more pleasant experience and a great way to see a movie (beer and wine also help but aren’t required). AMC has ripped off part of the concept without understanding that what makes the Alamo successful is the combination of Austin film fans, great programing, good service, good food, and a fun atmosphere. Upscale dinning this is not – for the same price you can get an excellent meal elsewhere and go see a movie at a far better theatre.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bridgewater Commons on Feb 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Actually this is likely Essex Green – – Bridgewater Commons does not have stadium seating nor do they have Cinema Suites.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Digital Film switch could signal end of historic movie theaters on Feb 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Most of the Buffalo Film Seminars at Market Arcade are shown on Blu Ray DVDs, not sure about the projector quality – its passable if not a bit wimpy on what is a pretty big size General Cinema circa late 80s screen (the theatre seats about 300). Most of the time they are screening a high quality Criterion Blu Ray (of coarse prints that weren’t properly cared for will have their own issues, but I agree the magic is gone). They occasionally show film prints (as was the case a few semesters ago with A Women Under the Influence) – fortunately Buffalo is sandwiched between two great film cities where film projectors will never be ripped out of the reparatory houses – Rochester (with the Dryden) and Toronto (with TIFF Bell Lightbox).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Digital Film switch could signal end of historic movie theaters on Feb 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Well what the article doesn’t mention is in many of these venues digital media has replaced film for archival screenings – to the credit of Ed Summers who is quote in the article the Buffalo International Film Festival did screen a film print at the North Park, and our alternative spaces (Squeaky Wheel and Hallwalls) in Buffalo are capable of 16MM, however more often then not, when you see a “classic” film presented at the Market Arcade for the legendary Buffalo Film Seminars and their new program Midnight Beacon, its projected digitally. I’m not sure where the disconnect is in the distribution chain but there will always be some screenings rooms in Buffalo that will be capable of 35MM along with digital even after a full DCI conversion (at least the CFA Screening Room I teach in at UB is ready for 16, 35 and digital – – I’ve shown 16MM when I can, but our department doesn’t own any 35MM)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema smarts in Buffalo on Feb 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I like that Watson points out AMC’s ever change price policy at its last 80’s hold-out, Maple Ridge. Dipson for what its worth, is the best chain we have in Buffalo by far – both on discounts, customer service and of coarse their season pass program.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cicero Cinema 13 on Feb 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm

According to the ad it was one of those Regals with “Stadium Style Seating in Select Auditoriums”

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Maple Ridge 8 on Feb 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I’d say so – AMC converted the place to all digital (although not Sony 4K digital, oddly enough – I suspect Regal has gone full Sony 4K at least at Transit, Galleria and Quaker Crossing). The only strange thing is AMC otherwise withdraw from Buffalo, giving up all the sites they inherited from General Cinema (University closed, Galleria went to Regal, McKinley went to Dipson) – this is the only hold out, an original 1980’s AMC at that, 10 years after they sold off many theaters of this era.

With that said – Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst would be an excellent place for a multiplex, what with that UB2020 scam just passed (which calls for building the University via rapidly raising tuition and implementing strange new fees the administration can’t justify like the “Academic Excellence Fee”) – if UB expands in Amherst as some developers like American Campus Communities are betting on with new properties – is a 10-14 plex in Amherst out of the question?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Elmwood Center 16 on Feb 5, 2012 at 9:12 pm

10 are stadium – the 6 back theaters aren’t. Regal came to Buffalo in a big way in 1997-1998 opening Transit Center, Elmwood and Quaker Crossing all within a month or two of each other. 2 years later (I believe) Niagara Falls opened and the area would not see another new theater for some 8 years with the opening the new Walden Galleria Stadium 16. Regal saw an opening a market with no stadium seating theaters and pounced before Cinemark (which had a theater on the drawing board for Hamburg) and AMC had a chance. They did roughly the same thing in 99-2000 in NYC when they ran a big ad in the New York Times advertising 3 new complexes at once – Battery Park 16, Kaufman Astoria, and Columbia Park (at least two of them ended up to be under performers, I assume Regal probably regrets over building Buffalo – – this one really should have been a 12-plex, however they probably really regreat Quaker Crossing, an 18-plex which has to fight with a 6-plex a mile away for product).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cumberland 4 on Feb 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm

More complex than I had thought (I’d always been up stairs with two-side by side theaters)….. here’s the layout for the record – street level, the concessions stand and box office, down a floor – theater #2 (which is the largest), down another floor restrooms and theatre #1. Up a half-flight of stairs from the concessions are restrooms, and theaters #3 and #4 are on what I suppose would the third floor. An odd set-up but they do show very good films, first run before they are bounced over to the Magic Lantern Carlton.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Quincy Mall 3 on Jan 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Apparently now has digital projection (including 3D) – – unlike many small Kerasotes sites they closed – it looks like they’re in this one for the long haul.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Clairidge Cinemas on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

Kinnelon is an art cinema when they have nothing else to show, for example, they once showed such indie fair as Puss in Boots and New Years Eve. The Clairidge is the most reliable art theatre, Clearview had previously shown these films in Washington Township and Tenafly (and sometimes still do), Edgewater Multiplex gets a few commercial indie films (they are often showing date and date with the Clairidge on more commercial indies as they platform out to larger venues in the following weeks). With that said, this theater still has a problem: distorted projection from poorly placed port windows (things boothless digital might be able to fix – but I wouldn’t be shocked if Clearview doesn’t bother to correct these issues). Every time I see I’m in Theater #4 I think “oh man, I wish this film was playing somewhere else so I can see it projected correctly”. The kicker (as with other Clearviews with problems like this) is that they’ve renovated the theatre – this one closed for a few weeks while they redid the concession stand, restrooms and put in very comfortable new seats) but never bothered to correct the poor presentation. Kinnelon, thankfully used the better of the two theaters for art product – the 8-plex up the hill has the worst projection of any venue I’ve seen (along with poor customer service and clueless management) and last year I saw 280 films in theaters – so I kind of do know what I’m talking about there. (They of coarse treat you like an idiot and tell you “the film was sent to us that way” NO – you, sir/ma’m are a moron and long with whomever designed the layout of the booth).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema Village on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

I hate asking questions on this site instead of contributing but I was hoping someone could shed some light on what the set-up was as a single screen venue? It’s currently has a lobby with box office/concession on street level, theater #1 up a half-flight of stairs, theater #2 up a full-flight of stairs (with “stadium seating”) and theater #3 along with the bathrooms downstairs.

I do like this theater but worry about it and the Quad (which was showing second-run Oscar bait that was at the multiplex this fall), but they do a great job for the NYU crowd, and keep their prices even lower than some suburban multiplexes (they’ve always had a student rate).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Paramus Route 4 Tenplex on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:32 am

I drove past it a few times recently (on the way to Edgewater Multiplex) – it must be a huge gym. It would have been cool if they kept a theatre in-tact as a “cardio theatre” – that is treadmills and ellipticals in one of the auditoriums with films screening. It sounds cool though that some of the architecture is still there, like the balcony.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Bay Terrace 6 on Jan 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

Shocking they still change the marquee regularly – I’ve seen many AMC and Regal locations that permanently put up a message saying something like “For tickets and showtimes call … or visit www…..to me this screams cheapness and a lack of showmanship – but I understand the winter months it might be dangerous. Then again AMC Theaters are all about cutting corners and jacking up prices where they can lately, while harassing you about the stubs program at nearly every interaction with an employee (either to join or renew your card).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinemark Stroud Mall 12 on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

Believe it or not, AMC Rockaway is not the best movie theatre USA, world or even New Jersey for that matter.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinemark Stroud Mall 12 on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I forgot to comment on this place – I went opening weekend and the place was, well – what it was. 12 screens all down one hallway (with a restroom right in front by the lobby) and a concession stand serving pretty much the basics. The theaters were small with very large screens (I was in a traditional theatre, I opted not to see Tower Heist in XD) and the theater lacks proper masking for scope films! The lame answer I got from the manager was “since most movies are made in flat, our new builds don’t have masking for scope which is why it’s letterboxed” – – uhhhh, that’s actually not correct, I’d say it’s about half and half on the production side for scope vs. flat features – so instead of screaming “ultra high tech” this place seems cheap. Unfortunately I was the only one bothered by this. The other aspects of the presentation and sound were good however.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Interchange 30 on Dec 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

The Hollywood Reporter had an article regarding AMC’s Canadian operations, many of which from my experience in the GTA had to share movies with Cineplex. To say they have over capacity would be a misstatement, last time I was at a Canadian AMC (for Breakaway) last October – I noticed how little effort they put into running the place, for a 24-plex they had no expanded menu apart from ice cream, one of their large houses was entirely closed off. As far as I can tell they also didn’t have gift cards (they were running a trailer tag for “AMC Gift Certificates” from the 1990’s) and apart from a few digital installs this location was 35MM (AMC has converted many of the sites they’re planning on begin in for the long term to all digital). They also haven’t introduced their bar/fork and screen concept either to Canada – whereas Cineplex/Famous Players had been leading on expanded concessions.

I know Cineplex can’t really grow any more to buy AMC (and perhaps even AMC closing would present an issue of Cineplex were to want to open a new complex). In the US a lot of these big AMCs that they weren’t renewing their leases on were bought up by other operators who came in and “right-sized” them, including their first megaplex the Grand 24. Empire it would appear would be the only one that could pull this off unless another exhibitor wanted to enter Canada (though I feel as if Cineplex is dominant and any exhibitor would have an issue competing directly with them). I wouldn’t appear though that the big US exhibitors are interested – Regal has a few on the border, Cinemark withdrew from Canada, and Carmike and Rave have no international operations.